SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.
– Saracens, featuring centre Brad Barritt, tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis and hooker Schalk Brits, defeated the Exeter Chiefs 36-18 at Allianz Park to regain top spot on the log at the expense of their victims. Lock Alistair Hargreaves and scrumhalf Neil de Kock came off the bench for the winners, with the latter notching up a milestone of 250 appearances for Sarries.
– A strong second-half performance saw Bath beat Gloucester 17-12 at Kingsholm Stadium. Bok Francois Louw started on the side of the scrum for Bath, who remain in ninth position.
– The Worcester Warriors defeated London Irish 12-6 to open up a considerable gap between themselves and the two teams facing relegation at the bottom of the standings. Prop Nic Schonert, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and centre Wynand Olivier represented the 10th-ranked Warriors.
– With prop Brian Mujati in their match-day squad, the Sale Sharks stunned playoff hopefuls the Leicester Tigers 27-20 at home. Lock Sebastian de Chaves played for the Tigers, who dropped from fourth to fifth on the log.
– Wasps marched on with yet another bonus-point victory, this time as 34-20 winners over the Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park. Hooker Ashley Johnson started, as per usual, for third-placed Wasps.
– Lock Victor Matfield and his Northampton Saints teammates edged Harlequins 29-23 at Franklin’s Gardens. The win takes the Saints up to fourth place.
– Munster scored seven unanswered tries to annihilate Zebre 47-0 at Thomond Park. Flank CJ Stander returned from international duty via the bench and scored one of the tries. Fullback Kayle van Zyl, No 8 Johan Meyer, blindside flank Jean Cook and lock Quintin Geldenhuys were in Zebre’s starting XV, while lock Gideon Koegelenberg and utility back Ulrich Beyers were among the reserves.
– No 8 Braam Steyn’s Treviso slumped to a 56-8 defeat at the hands of the Cardiff Blues at Arms Park. Treviso are rooted to the bottom of the log, while the Blues rose to eighth.
– The Glasgow Warriors, boosted by the return of their international stars from Six Nations duty, beat Ulster 27-17. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, lock Franco van der Merwe and hooker Rob Herring were in Ulster’s run-on XV, as was No 8 Josh Strauss in the Warriors team. Loose forward Robbie Diack sat on Ulster’s bench.
– The Scarlets, with wing DTH van der Merwe in their ranks, ousted the Opreys 25-16 at the Liberty Stadium. The winners stay in third place, while the Ospreys sink to ninth.
– The top of the table clash between Connacht and Leinster turned into a dour 7-6 win for Connacht. Hooker Richardt Strauss and fullback Zane Kirchner represented Leinster, who stay in second spot. Lock Quinn Roux started for the table-topping winners.
– Edinburgh pipped hosts the Newport Gwent Dragons 16-15 at Rodney Parade. Eighthman Cornell du Preez, No 4 lock Anton Bresler and tighthead prop WP Nel were on duty for Edinburgh. The Dragons started with fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, No 4 lock Ligtoring Landman and tighthead prop Brok Harris.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Toulon, despite fielding a second-string starting lineup, converted a late penalty attempt to edge hosts Racing 21-20 in Lille. Flank Bernard le Roux and lock Francois van der Merwe were part of a full-strength Racing side, with flyhalf Johan Goosen and No 8 Antonie Claassen playing off the bench in the second half. Replacement wing Bryan Habana enjoyed an eight-minute cameo for Toulon, who are now second on the log. Racing are fourth.
– No 8 Paul Hauman, lock Johan Snyman and prop Kevin Buys were named in Brive’s team that scored a late converted try to edge Castres 23-22 at home. In spite of the defeat, Castres are still one place ahead of their conquerors on the log.
– Grenoble, featuring fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Hendrik Roodt, ran in five tries to record a 23-9 bonus-point victory against La Rochelle. They are ranked ninth and 10th respectively.
– Montpellier’s new-found dominance continued with a resounding 45-21 bonus-point win over Agen. Montpellier, with Pierre Spies, Wiaan Liebenberg and Jacques du Plessis as the loose trio, Frans Steyn and Robert Ebersohn in the midfield and Demetri Catrakilis at flyhalf, crossed for six tries. Spies and Liebenberg dotted down for a try apiece, while Catrakilis added a conversion and a penalty and Steyn a solitary conversion. However, it was replacement hooker Bismarck du Plessis who lit up the match with two second-half tries. Flank Marco Kotzé started alongside outside centre Johann Sadie and flyhalf Burton Francis for Agen.
– Pau scored three unanswered tries to cruise past hooker Jody Jenneker’s Oyonnax 25-6.
– Clermont battled to a 24-19 win over Bordeaux to consolidate their place at the top of the standings. Scott Spedding was at fullback for the winners and replacement prop Dan Kotzé joined him in the 53rd minute. Lock Berend Botha scored the only try for Bordeaux, who used loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff as an impact player from the 48th minute.
– Toulouse hammered the out-of-sorts defending champions Stade Français 36-3. Flyhalf Morné Steyn gave the visitors the lead with an early penalty kick, but Toulouse, with prop Gurthrö Steenkamp in their ranks, went on to score five unanswered tries to claim an emphatic victory. Hooker Craig Burden, lock Gerhard Mostert, flank Willem Alberts and inside centre Meyer Bosman turned out for Stade alongside Steyn.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP Photo